The Bahamas is a “buyer’s market”

The Bahamas is currently a "buyer's market" for real estate, agents have declared, with property prices currently dropping by 30 to 50 per cent.

As the market slows, homeowners looking to sell in the Bahamas are having to lower prices to attract investors.

Mario Carey, of Mario Carey Realty, told Tribune Business: "A lot of people are eager to list but not really wanting to sell. They are not really in the reality of where the property market is right now. We have seen a downward trend in values of anything from 30-50 per cent. A lot of people aren't willing to accept that."

Some people are holding on their properties to avoid selling for such low prices, causing the Bahamian property market to be full up with excess supply that some agents fear will take years to clear. Indeed, according to the Bahamas Real Estate Assocation's Multiple Listing Service, only 19 properties were sold in the first quarter of 2012, despite over 500 being up for sale.

But developers are still keen to shift units, add agents, as construction is a key driving factor in the country's economy. So while many owners are not giving property away, most sellers are prepared "to take something off the price".

The result is a market with more sellers than buyers, leading to opportunities for new investors, particularly in the upper end of the market.

Mike Lightbourne, owner of Coldwell Banker Lightbourne Realty, comments: "I would say that the biggest buying opportunities are in the high-end properties, and particularly in the Out Islands. I think we will sort of be in this scenario for the next two to three years. People have to understand that sales are happening, but not at the higher prices that were achieved three to five years ago."

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